Rugby Union: Rejuvenated All Blacks on the march

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A RESURGENT New Zealand will be looking for revenge when they take on Australia in a one-off match for the Bledisloe Cup tomorrow.

Australia defeated New Zealand 2-1 in last year's series - but the All Blacks believe the result will be different at cold, inhospitable Carisbrook, which is considered the toughest venue in New Zealand for visiting teams.

New Zealand go into the match lifted by an emphatic 30-13 series-winning triumph over the Lions in Auckland two weeks ago.

In contrast, Australia have played only one warm-up Test, beating Tonga 52-14 but, in the process, gave a lacklustre performance. Australia will be without their captain, Michael Lynagh, who underwent a stomach operation this week, and the injured scrum-half, Peter Slattery. Their former captain, Nick Farr-Jones, replaces Slattery, while Lynagh's place goes to the 19-year-old newcomer, Pat Howard.

The New Zealand coach, Laurie Mains, does not believe that his side are favourites. 'If you look at it realistically, they are the world champions; they won the series last year and I would judge that they would go into the game as favourites based on their record of the last two or three years,' Mains said.

NEW ZEALAND: J Timu; J Kirwan, F Bunce, L Stensness, V Tuigamala; G Fox, J Preston; O Brown, S Fitzpatrick, C Dowd; R Brooke, M Cooksley, A Pene, M Jones, J Joseph.

AUSTRALIA: T Kelaher; D Campese, T Horan, J Little, P Carozza; P Howard, N Farr-Jones; T Daly, P Kearns, E McKenzie; G Morgan, R McCall, D Wilson, T Gavin, T Coker, G Morgan, R McCall, T Daly, P Kearns, E McKenzie.